Road trip around Gujarat

The lady of the manor at leisure

The lady of the manor at leisure

Sunesh, Sanjeev and Anya have just come back from two weeks travelling around Gujarat visiting some of the historic, beautiful and unusual sights it has to offer. The highlight was going on a camel safari in the Rajasthani desert outside Jaisalmer. Apart from that, they also climbed up 3 mountains to look at temples at the top, spent a few days on the beach and stayed in a couple of old palaces. I’m not sure how many thousands of kilometres we travelled, but sometimes we drove for 10 hours a day and Gujarat doesn’t even look like a big state compared to other states in India! Over the next few days I will post up a few pictures to give you a flavour of what we saw. Connection speeds are terrible at the moment and there are frequent power cuts …

We have enjoyed the faded charm of old palaces

We have enjoyed the faded charm of old palaces

Lounging about on the veranda

Lounging about on the veranda

A bed each? - such extravagance!

A bed each? - such extravagance!

We also visited the ‘eco’ fair – all hand powered of course!

We saw Jain temples at the very tops of mountains. Sanjeev would like me to point out that he was dragged out of bed at 5am to do this.

A temple too far...

A temple too far...

Cracking open the Pringles at the top to celebrate another conquest

Cracking open the Pringles at the top to celebrate another conquest

It was always worth the climb although we struggled despite lots of snacks and bottles of water. Most people were visiting as pilgrims rather than tourists and they were fasting, weren’t allowed to drink and most walked barefoot. Some had walked from their home towns and we even saw one man rolling down the road towads the mountain!

Stairway to heaven

Stairway to heaven

In case you were wondering how all this marble and stone gets to the top of a mountain – it’s still done by the same method used over a thousand years ago…

The definition of suffering. These guys could only manage a few steps at a time and it's hours to the yop in 35 degree heat. I didn't have the heart to ask how much they get paid but this must takes years off your life.

The definition of suffering. These guys could only manage a few steps at a time and it's hours to the top

Definition of aneasy life - probably for the dolly carriers as well.

Definition of an easy life - probably for the dolly carriers as well.

And then there was the desert…

and then there was the desert...

a sea of dunes...

...the camels...

...the camels...

Sanjeev of Arabia returns

Sanjeev of Arabia returns

such glamour...

such glamour...

such romance...

such romance...

such High School Musical!

such High School Musical!

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Out in the fields

After a week of getting out of bed late and just showing up for the fun jobs like feeding the chickens, it was finally time to get a taste of a real farm job. All of the children (including Gromit) went on their cousins’ tractor to a field several kilometers away owned by the family. After crossing several other fields and dismantling a few temporary ‘fences’ of thorn branches (nasty on the hands and legs!) we finally arrived in our field. Fortunately the grass we needed was already cut and tied, so all we had to do was load it on to the trailer. Hard enough work in the heat though – and we had to be careful of all the ticks in the hay…nice!

Gromit heads off for his first day of real work in the fields

Gromit heads off for his first day of real work in the fields

and off they went into the jungle...

and off they went into the jungle...

Dismantling the thorn bush fences designed to keep out animals

Dismantling the thorn bush fences designed to keep out animals

Gromit finds the hay that needs loading and starts barking out the orders

Gromit finds the hay that needs loading and starts barking out the orders

Anya's aunt and uncle are the only ones who really know what they are doing and they begin to stack the hay carefully as we all watch

Anya's aunt and uncle are the only ones who really know what they are doing and they begin to stack the hay carefully while we all watch and learn.

Anya's masi (aunty) wears a long sleeve shirt and scarf to protect herself from dust and ticks

Bharti, Anya's masi (aunt), wears a long sleeve shirt and scarf to protect herself from dust and ticks.

Then we get a go. Come on Sanjeev, put your back in to it!

Then we get a go. Come on Sanjeev, put your back in to it!

Here you go, catch!

Here you go, catch!

Finally we are fully loaded and the hay is tied to the trailer

Finally we are fully loaded and the hay is tied to the trailer

Gromit showed up again when all the hard work was done!

Gromit showed up again when all the hard work was done! Don't worry Anya didn't drive the tractor...

...Sunesh did!

...Sunesh did!

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